Friday, June 13, 2008
Last Sunday the town of Ruby did something special to honor their Doctor (who just happens to be my father). Daddy first came to them in October, 1963. He left a good job in the city, as the song goes...a very large city. He had been working at DC General Hospital in Washington and we lived in Falls Church, Virginia. My sister Holly had just graduated High School (Bishop DJ O'Connell a Catholic High School we both attended) and my parents had just sold the house we lived in to the State of Virginia. Where our house once stood, Route 66 was going through. Now, my Dad swears this is what happened. Knowing Mama, I have no doubt of it whatsoever. He says that after the house sell Mama called him at work and told him "Daddy is here with the truck, we're packing up and moving to Chesterfield. " Most men would not be quite so obliging as to pack in a career and move South on a whim...but to say he loved Mama is an understatement. He talked to the other Doctor's with whom he worked and they told him that if he had to go, then he had to but if he changed his mind his place would be available for him. We'd only been back in Chesterfield a week when the job offers started coming in. He had his first patient after having been a guest of my Grandparents for a day. He asked my Grandmother how this person had known he was there and that he was a Doctor. My grandmother replied, "this is Chesterfield, everyone knows everything about everyone." He was asked to work in Charleston, SC, he had an offer from Jefferson and my Uncle Gary (Douglas) persuaded him to take the town of Ruby up on their offer. The new Doctor they'd hired had backed out at the last minute and the new Clinic stood empty. This is how we arrived here all those years ago. When Daddy was taken suddenly ill a few weeks ago and had to have emergency surgery, so many people from the Town and outlying areas who had been his patients for so many years, became alarmed that this stalwart servant of the people was lying ill in hospital and only his family had known. Some of the patients became so upset that they called the Sheriff's Department to report him missing. Just as the door was about to be broken in someone called my brother on his cell phone and reported that there was a "mob" of cop cars parked in Daddy's yard and wanted to know if everything was okay. I in turn called the Sheriff's office to ask THEM what was going on. Okay, we got that cleared up and the Law left happily. Since he has treated most of them (or any who stopped in) for free for years, I'm sure they were glad to know that he was alright, too. After Daddy arrived home from the hospital my sister Toni told me that the town was planning a big "surprise" presentation for him at the Ruby Baptist Church. I thought about this for about a week and then I called Daddy and let the cat out of the bag. (Okay come on, you knew there'd be a cat in this somewhere). I didn't tell anyone I was spilling the beans, I didn't want anyone talking me out of it. I just decided that you didn't pull a surprise like that on a 95 year old man who never considered himself anything other than a Doctor doing his job...he didn't want thanks and couldn't figure out why they (the Town) wanted to do anything special like this for him. I called Toni and told her that he knew what was going on and she was so glad. So all his family (see photo and click to enlarge) and friends were there, there to tell him that they appreciated all he had done for them over the years and that they loved him. It was a beautiful event for an unassuming man. It made us all proud.